Just posting to share some of my own experience with social anxiety. Its affected me since high school since I was about 14. It slowly developed to the point where I was socially withdrawn, very quiet, nervous in groups, highly self conscious/insecure about my appearance and generally anxious.
I didn't really cope with this well at all simply because I didn't really want to acknowledge it. I felt something was just wrong with me, it was just some issue that meant everyone could talk comfortably in groups except myself. Consequently going to school brought alot of anxiety. I'd be very harsh on myself to the point of wanting to self harm, but thankfully never did.
My biggest step was recognising that this was something that could be treated. I was not as isolated as I thought I was. It was also a turn jn fortune that after a few tries I found a counselor that connected with me. We were able to talk openly and I could share personal insecurities that I never told anyone. She gave me some strategies to help and most importantly boosted my self confidence which was very low.
She also helped treat my depression which was emerging as a result of years of untreated severe social anxiety. Mindfulness meditation helped at times to maintain some calmness in the mind. Medication also helped to some extent to treat my sleeping disorder which had occured from my anxiety.
The one thing stuck with me in my experience, and it is that anxiety is not something that can be eliminated, only managed. But it can be managed well if it can be accepted as part of you. It certainly doesn't define you as a person, which is what I felt before treatment.
I'm now in a steady supportive relationship, have a job I love in healthcare helping others as a paramedic and in disability care. While anxiety is there, it is less intense and I can keep it under control much more effectively. All the best to everyone here, you can achieve your goals! And be kind to yourself when things get tough.